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k The Technical Assistance Division of Planned Parenthood-World Population 

Center for 
Family Planning 

March 11, 1969 

545 Madison Avenue. New York, N. Y. 10022 
(212) 752-2100 

TO: Bernard Berelson 

FROM: Frederlck S. Jaffe 

RE: Activities Relevant to the Study of Population Policy for the United States 

This memorandum is responsive to your letter of January 24, seeking 
ldeas on necessary and useful activities relevant to formation of population 
policy, defined as "legislative measures, administrative programs, and 
other govemmental actions (a) that are designed to alter population 
trends... or (b) that actually do alter them. 11 My observations will 
be limited to the United States and to activities which might shed light 
on the necessity for, desirability of and in some cases, the potential 
hazards, of the development of an explicit govemmental population policy 
or policies in the United States. 

Apart from the abstraction that in the long run, a zero rate of 
population growth is inevitable, the arguments advanced to justify an 
explicit U.S. policy now of encouraging a specific universal limit on 
family size (as distinguished from proposals aimed selectively at welfare 
recipients and racial groups) center mainly on two propositions: 

1) That continued U.S. population growth will inevitably 

cause a deterioration in the quality of life of this and future generations; 
this can be described as the ecological position.* 

2) That an explicit U.S. policy to encourage or compel smaller 
family size in the U.S. is necessary to enable our government effectively 
to encourage or compel developing nations to move in similar directions; 
this may be termed the international public relations position. 

*A variant of this position is that the U.S., with some 6 percent of the 
world's population already uses more than half of the world's non-renewable 
natural resources, and that population growth here thus effects not only the 
9^®Tity of American life but the opportunity of the developing countries even 
to attempt to improve their living standards. 

- 2 - 

The debate thus far (in government, among conservation organizations, 
in the demographic field, within Planned Parenthood, etc.) has with only 
a few notable exceptions (e.g. Coale) virtually ignored current actual 
U.S. fertility behavior and its implications for public policies and 
programming. It has not seriously grappled with public policies in other 
areas which may influence the realization of fertility preferences, nor 
with the prcdictable political consequences of a major effort to adopt 
and cnforcc an anti-natalist U.S. population policy. Nor has it viewed 
population policy as an element — but only one — of a larger field of 
socinl planning in which the direct and indirect costs and benefits of 
cacli element must be weighed against the direct and indirect costs and 
bcncfJtH of all elcments in order to produce a coherent social policy. 

Realløtlc public policies intended to influence actual behavior are 
rarely adopted In the U.S. only for public relations reasons. Proposition 
2 above, Lherefore* is not likely to become the primary basis for a U.S. 
population policy, no matter how superficially attractive it may be in 
argumentatJon and debate. The decision on a U.S. population policy will 
ultlmately be made on the validity or invalidity of Proposition 1. 

Accordlngly, at least as regards the United States, I believe that 
a number of activities must be undertaken as prior and necessary conditions 
to consideration of whether or not the U.S. should adopt any explicit popu¬ 
lation policy. 

These suggestions are set forth below, more or less in the order required, 
logically, for prior questions to be answered authoritatively before derivative 
issues are tackled. The first activities are designed to provide a definitive 
assessment of the levels of population growth that can be expected from 
expanding to the maximum current voluntary control mechanisms; these studies 
would offer an answer to the basic question, M Does the U.S. need an explicit 
population policy?'* If there then will still remain some definable problem 
of population growth in the U.S. on a best-judgment basis, the second group 
of studies would attempt to clarify the terms of the discourse over alterna¬ 
tive policies by removing the value-laden assumptions which have thus far 
distorted professional and public thinking. Then, it is proposed that a 
wide range of public policies in the other areas — and their underlying 
theoretical bases — be examined disinterestedly to determine what impact, 
if any, they have had on population trends. Finally, the list of potentially 
effective alternative policies which emerges should be critically assessed 
lin terms of their likely political and social consequences in a stratified 

I. The Uses and Limits of a Contraceptive Society 

The U.S. has achieved near-universal practice of some ^form of fer¬ 
tility control (ineluding ineffective methods). The argument for a U.S. 
rpopulation policy rests on the expressed preference of U.S. couples for 
, an average ideal family of 3+ children which will result in a rate of growth 
_which is said to be impermissible. (It is important to note that the number 
.wånted is usually less than the number regarded as ideal .) Yet, current 

- 3 - 

fertility experience appears to go in the opposite direction: the annual 
fcrtility rate is now about 85 which, if continued, would result in an 
avcrage corapleted family size of about 2.6 children; this is being accomplished 
in spite of the present state of technology, ranging from relatively efficient- 
to-inefficient contraceptive techniques and, for all practical purposes, 
vith no legal abortion backup; current fertility therefore includes a sizeable 
numbcr of unwanted births and conceptions. (Data from the 1965 National 
Fertility Study yields a minimum estimate of 850,000 unwanted births annually 
from 1960-65, or 21 percent of all births.* While overall fertility has declined 
since 1960-65, it seems highly likely that current fertility includes at least 
a 15 percent incidence of unwanted births. If this is valid, the ,, wanted M 
fertility rate currently is between 70-75, which ls_ replacement level, if it 

There are, of course, excellent reasons for caution in projeeting 
future trends based on current fertility experience: the fertility preferences 
of American couples are not static and vary in response to conditions which 
are only dimly known. But the same caveat applies even more strongly to 
cxtrapolations from the post-World War II pre-pill period (upon which much of 
the demand for a U.S. population policy is based): these projeetions appear 
to have been rather considerably modified by the availability of improved 
contraceptive techniques since 1960 and the degree to which these methods 
have contributed to delaying first births and introducing longer intervals 
between subsequent births. Moreover, the interaction between improved 
fertility control and fertility preferences are only beginning to be clarified 
by scholars like Freedman, Westoff and Ryder who have shown that "later 
cquals fewer".** 

I imagine that it was data such as these which led Coale last November 
to state that there seems to be as much reason to believe that the U.S. will 
ehortly be worrying about too few births as about too many .*** 

Since the U.S. has the resources to make truly efficient contraception 
truly available to everyone and to complement this with abortion on demand, 
it could thus provide a test of the uses and limits of voluntary action 
in solving the population problem. 

The following work would appear indicated: 

1) A definitive study of the current number of unwanted births 
Xn the United States. -j . 

C y\ . 2) A definitive study of the current number of illegal abortions 

in the United States. 

3) From 1 and 2, an assessment of the likely rate of growth fol¬ 
lowing the Virtual elimination of unwanted pregnancy in a society in which 

*Jaffe, Frederick S. and Alan F. Guttmacher, "Family Planning Programs in the U.S. 1 
Pemography (fortheoming). ‘ '_ 

**Freedman, R.C. Coombs and L. Bumpass, M Stability and Change in Expectations 
About Family Size - A Longitudinal Study 11 , Pemography 1965, V.2; N.B. Ryder & 

C.F. Westoff, "The Trend of Expected Parity in the U.S. - 1955,1960,1965", 
Population Index , April-June, 1967. 

*** At PPWP's Annual Meeting Symposium. 

effective contraception is efficicntly distributed to all v;ho vant it and 
abortion is available on deinand as a backup measurs. 

4) Delineation of the necessary and sufficient conditions for 
achieving such a society: 

a) public and private resources: funds, professional cadres, 


b) efficient contraceptive technologies. 

c) distribution systems. 

d) legal, political and institutional changes (and 
the requirements for inducing thetn). 

e) open questions requiring additional research. 

5) Assessr.ant of the political, social ecoaomic and cultural conse- 
quences of the likely rate of growth indicated in 3, or the benefits against 
which the costs of achieving a truly contraceptive society (as in 4) could 
be weighed. 

The hypothesis underlying these proposals is that the achievement 
of a society in which effective contraception is efficiently distributed 
to all, based on present voluntary norms, would either result in a tolerable 
rate of growth, or go very far toward achieving it. If this hypothesis is 
basically confirmed, it would negate the need for an explicit U.S. population 
policy which goes beyond voluntary norms. 

I 1 Clarifying the Terms of the Discourse 

The present discourse on population policy is loaded with assmnptions, 
biases and judgments about the causes and determinants cf fertility behavior, 
and these assumptions are imbedded in the very terminology employed. Some 
of these assumptions go back in the literature for decades and centuries 
(e.g., Malthus’ "population bounty") but have never been subjected to empirical 
verification, Instead, they have been accepted as conventional wisdom. 
and in turn, tend to impede and distort clarification of the issues involvad 
in assessing alternative policy proposals. 

It is proposed, therefore, that certain key terms and assumptions 
be clarified and subjected to empirical test, to tha extent data and research 
would permit: 

1 ) 

Are free social Services "pro-n atalist" ? 

The idea that prcvision cf free social Services has a pre-natalist 
effect is accepted almost uncritically in the literature and in turn, becones 
a major postulate on which alt-ernative proposals are based. Empirical 
analysis is needed tc determine the extent to wciach tius charactenza^xoii . 
is valid as to outcome (as distinguished from the rhetoric advanced to 
justify adoption of the part-cular policy in the first place). 

For example, is there auy evidence that fertility among comparable 
classes is higher in countries, states or cormunities which make the following 
Services available, free, to large numbers of couples than in countries, 

gTates «or 

vhlch do XllXt? 

- - . _ '■ Materaal and Chlld Hedlcal Care 
HatBxnity Lb ave and ISenefits 
Chlld Care Facilitles 

Co mp nlsory. Public Ednratrlrm Through High School 
College F dncati on <or schalarships liberally aval 1 ab le) 

These Services of cotrrse, have "positive benefits to society which gu 
heyoad fertility (although some may have a snbseqnent effect on fertility 
mIbo — and not in the pro-natalist directrlon)^ . Jhey appear to be charac- 
terlzed as * 1 pxoIlata^^Bt f, only because they do mot directly penalize child- 
bearJLng bxrt tfa e rre nppears • timt -thg y do.indeed encourage 

fer i 11 1 Ly > in the United StatBH nr ^Tir -f ^rt f axeas «rnrl nalH rm« 

jnrovidlng nanre free social Services appear, on R nppT - F-fr^-fal analysfs* to 
hne lover fertility, but this may be explained on otheT grounds (e.g. higher 
'living standards) . Nevertheless, the influence or lack of influence of 
'these Services on fertility should he established. 

Economic "incentives" to fertilit 

r A-Special case of (1) relates to the presumed "incentive" to fertility 
In such-programs as family and children^s allowances. These allowances 
«ere (and are) legitlmated politlcally as a means of increasing the birth 
I4 te . bnt the only ana3yses -Hma far nf nctnal r*» «n l~tn -ydnld no support 
for the±r presumed pro—natalist eiied - han*»ri ^ -Hu- > t-al -justif ication 

e nd the e nsulng termini p] ogl ral /idenlngiral set, many *pxnpnsals are advanced 
to rednce, elinrfcnate or block family all owa nces on fertility grounds. 

A definitive empirlcal study is needed of the fertility outcome of 
family allowance programs , both to inform the forthcoming U.S. debate on 
res true turing the welf are system and to shed light on the potential usetui- 
'OPKB of enm u mi c incentives (^nH thnn illslnrpn-M vp») 1n shaping f ertility 


veri:‘Å d®flnitive empirical study is also needed of the specific America- 
variant in this area — namely, the frequent allegation that AFDC mothers 
have more children in order to increase their monthly allotment. T his nnMnn 

is wi d el y hel d among in fl uenti al citinens and pnlir y ui«lr<»rg and is one 

~the _po wrr Tni _s timtil anis hehlnd the ajpnwmd iox a“U-3- <ppp nl yrtm policy. 

cicr.riti z~ . z .: .-_, 

vculi : 

111 Assessment of the 

act on Population Trends of Other Public Policies 

Gonsidering- the theoretical importance which is attached to social 
£nd-economic factors in shaping population trends, it is remarkable how 

sttention has been paid to the effects on fertility of public policies 
in^areas affecting basic social and economic strueture. Only recently, 
fpr example, it has.been suggested that differential welfare standards are 
a_factor stimulating migration (with little or no em piriral evidence), 

It would seem useful, therefoxe, "to 
or-anticipated effect on population of m 

some assessment of the acutal 
C pol1 ri ps, such as: 

1) Fiscal and Monetary Policy which appears to regard inflation 

as a concomit.ant of full eraployment and thus, to accept relatively high (or 
nt least preventable) unemployment levels as necessary. Yet, more women 
enter the labor market under conditlons of full employment and the rela- 
tionship between employment of women and lower fertility seems well established. 
An cxaraination is needed of, in effect, the question: How much inflation 
could or should we risk to achieve lower fertility? (XX risk of inflation 
- YX increase in women*s employment = Z% reduction in fertility*) 

2) Educatjon Policy ; At least two aspects seem worth study t 

a} The effect on fertility of policies to encourage higher educational 
levels for everyonc (assuming that the alleged fl prp- natal i s t 11 effect of free 
cducation discusscd in II can be reconciled with demographic reseaxch showing 
the inverse relationship of education and fertility); and 

b) The effect on fertility of current policies and programs regarding 
the cducation of women (for example, to prepare them either for motherhood or 
labor force, partlcipatlon* later, mai-riage, etc, ), and the likel) 
effects of alternative policies. 

3) Man power Policy — this Is closely related to 1 and 2; the extent 
to whicli current, ranging from training and apprenticeship require— 
ments to transferabJMty of pension plans, encourage or discourage women to 
work should be examined. A specific aspect of this analysis would be the 
extent to which public policy facilitates or discourages the employment of 
young mothers tlirough provision or denial of child care facilities (assuming 
again c reconciliation of this program with the alleged M pro-natalist M effects 
discusscd in II). 

4) Farm Policy — The extent to which the goveming U.S. farm policy 
of encouraging the amalgamation of family f arms into f, agrobusinesses !l has 
contributed to rural-urfcan migration during the last 20 years should be 

5) Welf are Policy — The extent tt.» which unlivable assistance levels 
and inadequate medical and social Services, coupled with stimatization 

of recipients, have contributed to higher fertility should be explored. 

6 ) Ho us ing Policy — To "what extent has the policy of encouraging 
small home ownership and suburban development encouraged higher fertility 
levels? What would be the likely.effects of alternative policies? 

7) Economic Theory and Policy — A special case is the area af economic 
policy because it is widely believed that population growth is indispensable 

f to economic growth. Whether we like it or not, this is pxnbably the control— 
ling Idea in the business community and among many. leconomist:and it is highly 
unlikely that a population policy aimed at lower rates of growth will be 
edopted until this concept is replaced. Two approaches are suggested: 

a) A study tracing the funetion — explicit or implicit — of 
population growth in the models propounded by economic 

tbeørists historjcally. The aim of the study should 
be to ansver, in theoretlcal terms, the questiou: Among 
the of economic growth In advanced countries which 
control policy and business decison-making today, is 
continued population growth an indispensable or dispensable 

b) Encouragement of work by appropriate economic theorists to 
develop a substitute for population growth in the current 
controlling models of economic growth in advanced countrie». 

The studies outlined above would shed li g ht on the effeet on population 
trends of some existing public policies; identify the in te res ts benefitting 
from these policies; and hopefully identify some points for intervention 
to enourage lower fetility without the adoption of an explicit population 

IV Assessment of the ^Effectiveness of Population Educatior, In Influen cinj 
Fertility Preferences 

Expansion of educational activities designed to increase awareness of 
the population problem has been advocated, both in terms of its intrinsic merits 
and as part of an overall population policy. Projects should be undertaken to 
delineate the content* scope and limits of such activities as a guide to 
programs ±n the sch pols and by private gronps* and studies should be conducted 
to test the effectiveness of these programs in aetually influencing fertility - 

In this area t it seems particularly important to distinguish hetween 
education and indoetrination . Whatever may be the merits and effectiveness of 
a truly educational effort, an indoetrination campaign may vell have only 
negligible effects on fertility values, but may provide unintended support in 
building a public opinion which seeks legalized compulsory fertility control for 
selected groups (particularly welfare recipients). .The adverse political conse- 
quences of such a development on the population and family planning fields, 
nationally and intemationally, could be quite serious. 

V AgBessmerrt of the Political and Social Consequences of Alternative 
Population Policies in a Stratified Society 

The debate in the United States thus far has proceeded with almost 
no explicit acknovledgement of the fact that the U.S is an economxcally 
and racially stratified society. Yet it is clear that most of the policies 
proposed as .-alternativea to family planning cannot be expected to affect 
all segments of the population equally. The attached table ^atrtempts a xough 
sorting of the principal measures discussed, according to whether their 
lmp act would be universal or selective. Clearly policies which are primarily 
economic in effect — tax policies, incentives and disincentives — cannot 
be expected to have equal influence on the behavioi of rich miiddle-class and 
low—income families. Qther proposals — e.g. , compulsory abortion of out—of- 

-wedlock pregnancies — can be expected to ba applied selectively against those 
out-of-wedlock pregnancies which are visible, and this has racial overtones 
Social stratification thus raises sharply the issne, "Who shall decide 
vhose fertillty —- and for whose purposes?" 

It seems urgent* therefore> that the policies which emerge as apparently 
useful from the work proposed in I - IV above be subjected to critical 
scrutiny in terms of the realities of a class-and race-stratified society. 

Such an analysis should establish which policies can be administered universally 
and which can be expected to have a diffetential impact on various segments of 
the population. The political consequences of such differentiation should be 
examlned, in an effort to provide working answers to questions such as these: 

1) Is it feasible to expect that society vill accept policies which curb 
fertillty universally — or is it more likely that those who are poverful will 
favor and adopt policies which affect primarily those who have less power or 
are powerless? Is such differential treatment politically viable? 


2) Is it possible to nropose and iusti^y miversal fertility control 
policies without reinforcing and legitimating — politically, philosophically 
and ideologically — the existing body of opinion which, for reasons having 
little to do wiLh the population problem, already seeks selective compulsory 
fertility control of welfare recipients and minority groups? 

. A 

The.Be studies, in my view, would be necessary for a clear answer to the 
key questions surrounding an explicit population policy in the United States 

Do ve need one — and if so, how soon? 

Is the antidpated gain vortl the likely cost? 







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This is the “Jaffe Memo” from Frederick S. Jaffe (at the time Executive Director of Planned 
Parenthood’s Center for Family Planning Program Development) to Bernard Berelson 
(President of the Population Council) of March 11, 1969 that is the source of a chart used by 
opponents of Planned Parenthood to document the supposed aims of that organization. In fact 
Jaffe was merely cataloging various proposals for population control advocated by others, not 
Planned Parenthood, which is clear in this original memo where the sources of the proposals 
are cited (Jaffe Memo Table.jpg). These attributions were left out of the table when it was 
published in Family Planning Perspectives in October, 1970 (“U.S. Population Growth and 
Family Planning: A Review of the Literature”, by Robin Elliott, Lynn C. Landman, Richard 
Lincoln and Theodore Tsuoroka), also included here. 

Obtained from: 

The Rockefeller Archive Center 

15 Dayton Avenue 

Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591 

Phone: (914) 631-4505; (914) 366-6300 

Fax: (914) 631-6017 


Resolution passed by the Population Section of the APHA at 
the Annual Meeting, October 19, 1978, in Los Angeles, California 

Resolution re: Death of Frederick S. Jaffe 

The Population Section of the APHA records its deep sorrow over the 
untimely passing of Frederick S. Jaffe, President of The Alan Guttmacher 
Institute. Mr. Jaffe, both through his organization and as an individual, 
was instrumental in the conceptualization of a national family planning 
program and in its later development and implementation. The Alan Guttmacher 
Institute, which he founded, reflects Mr. Jaffe’s commitment to the production 
and use of the requisite research and analyses for making informed decisions 
about fertility-related Services and domestic population policies. 

Mr. Jaffe’s death is a loss not only to those of us in the population 
and family planning field but also in the public health arena at large. He 
worked tirelessly to insure that all people regardless of income, age, race, 
sex or residence have full access to the reproductive health and social Services 
to which they are entitled.